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Lila Littlejohn: Developers speak and Castaic says ‘no’

From The Signal Archives...

Posted: July 15, 2010 8:26 p.m.
Updated: July 16, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 91 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the July 13, 1980, Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

Developers get a forum
It was 30 years before the term “developmental terrorist” was coined, but the issue of development — and claims of overdevelopment — were a hot topic.

In the days before there was a Santa Clarita city, and county government ruled in development issues, and the Santa Clarita Valley Planning Advisory Committee held a forum for developers to make their cases in favor of more growth.

It should be noted that the forum came on the heels of a series of advisory committee meetings during which various agencies, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, took “pro-environmental stances,” the July 13, 1980, issue of the paper reported.

Standing in favor of more growth were Mike Keston of the Larwin Company and Valencia Corp. officials Tom Lee and Rick Stephens. The Valencia Corp. was an arm of the Newhall Land and Farming Co.

“We have a terrible, severe housing crisis, and it’s just going to get worse unless we do something about it,” Keston told the committee members.

Lee noted his firm’s plan called for 5,000 single-family homes in the San Francisquito Canyon area, and a higher-density designation was required for that goal to be reached.

Speaking of housing ...
A three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home was offered at $135,000 in one realty firm’s ad; another listing in the same ad offered a three-bedroom, two-bath home with a “huge family kitchen” at $86,000 — and it had a view.

Land battle
While environmental interests apparently had the ear of the Santa Clarita Valley Planning Advisory Committee, residents of Acton weren’t real pleased with a plan to extend the Pacific Crest Trail through their part of town.

To complete the 2,500-mile trail between Mexico and Canada, the U.S. Forest Service wanted to buy some private property in Acton.

And, if the owners didn’t want to sell, they faced eminent domain proceedings.

The Signal called the move a “land grab.”

Castaic shows its independence
Another story in the July 13, 1980, issue reported that an Assembly bill to keep Castaic out of a move to unify Santa Clarita Valley schools had passed the Legislature and was on the governor’s desk.

A two-year-old movement was afoot back then to revamp the SCV’s schools into three unified school districts, meaning grades K-12 would fall within one of three single districts.

Castaic parents wanted no part of the deal, which apparently failed, since the valley currently has four elementary school districts — including Castaic — and one junior high/high school district.

Leave them skunks alone
A delightful letter to the editor from someone identified as “Martin (Buffalo Thunder) Knifechief” offered some advice for city dwellers who moved to the wilds of the Santa Clarita Valley back in 1980.

Championing skunks that had apparently run afoul of SCV residents, Knifechief advised, “Now I ain’t no Grizzly Adams, but I am a buckskin-clad lad of the old ways and I think that there is more ‘stink’ that meets the nose.

“It seems the first response of most humans is ‘kill, kill, kill,’ and that doesn’t solve anything,” he wrote.

“If it ain’t the skunks, it’s the coyotes or the raccoons, squirrels or rabbits,” Knifechief observed.

His solution? “If you can, find an old Indian. He’s got the answers.”


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